New 7/8 language arts teacher new to workshop model! Help!

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by abwooten, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. abwooten

    abwooten New Member

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    Aug 9, 2011

    I'm a new teacher and I'm starting a position at a relatively new school that's had baaaad luck keeping 7/8 grade language arts teachers. In fact, all the middle school teachers are brand new. Anyway, I need to develop a reading workshop and writing workshop launching unit that also integrates content. In fact, I have to develop everything from scratch. Nothing exists and the school has no idea what they want to do. LOL.

    While there are good suggestions out there for good mini-lessons for a launching unit, most of them are for grades K-5.

    Have any of you done launching units for 7-8 (reading or writing?) Any suggestions on good lessons, what lessons to do first, etc? Good mentor texts for launching lessons?

    Also, any idea how to also teach content lessons while doing the launching unit? (I was told to do my reading and writing workshop the first six weeks like this: teach a mini lesson that's specifically a launching mini lesson, have the students practice whatever strategy I'm teaching for the launching mini lesson, teach a content lesson, then have the students write/read independently. My reading block is an hour and my writing block is an hour.)

    Also, this school is using Words their Way. Any suggestions for when to squeeze in word study? I was thinking of doing it for 10 minutes following independent reading, but I'm a little lost.

    Sorry so many questions!
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 10, 2011

    I'll be working on my first unit over the next day or two--I'm trying to go with a workshop approach this year. Let me know if you want to see what I come up with.
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Aug 10, 2011

    Have the students used a workshop model in the younger grades? It is much easier to launch when this is the case.

    I start with mini lessons that establish expectations, rules, and our areas that we enjoy writing and reading.

    To introduce some reading skills/strategies, use poems or articles is something short that can be added to a workshop. I don't spend a long time reading and writing in the beginning. More time is spent modeling and teaching because the students need to build their stamina after a summer off.
     
  5. scooter503

    scooter503 Comrade

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    Aug 10, 2011

    I'm going to suggest reading Mechanically Inclined by Jeff Anderson. A teacher on here recommended it to me last summer before I started teaching middle school for the first time. I would also suggest anything by Kelly Gallagher.

    I would like to do more with the workshop model myself, so MrsC, I'd be thrilled if you would be willing to share!

    I'm interested to see what others suggest as well. I still am looking for ways to improve...I felt like much of my first year in middle school was spent just getting by.
     
  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 10, 2011

    I love, love, love Mechanically Inclined; I have, in fact, spent a fair bit of time today tearing through all of the boxes I brought home from school looking for my copy so that I can use it for planning. I'm almost positive I brought it home! I'll be happy to share my plans once I get there--I ended up doing more sorting and organizing today than anything else!
     
  7. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    Aug 10, 2011

    I teach social studies, but I have done a lot of reading on workshop model over the summer. So What Do They Really Know? by Cris Tovani is great. Nancie Atwell's In The Middle is also considered a go-to text for workshop teaching. I recently purchased That Workshop Book by Samantha Bennett, but it hasn't been delivered yet. Hope these help!
     
  8. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Aug 10, 2011

    I LOVE Mechanically Inclined and his other book Everyday Editing. As a matter of fact, I get to go to a day long workshop with Jeff Anderson tomorrow!!!! :)

    I will also second any book by Kelly Gallagher, specifically Deeper Reading, Cris Tovani or Kylene Beers.

    And of course, Lessons that Change Writers by Nancy Atwell is the single best book you can get on incorporating a writing workshop. It's a pricey book, but you get VERY specific lessons, even down to her suggested pacing for them!
     

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